EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFallout From Mingo Indictments Could Be Far-Reaching
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Aug. 16, 2013 9:45 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 16, 2013 11:16 PM EDT
Williamson , Mingo County , West Virginia
The fallout from the Mingo County indictments continues, and it will likely be far-reaching.
Questions are surfacing about the validity of all of the indictments handed down, while Jarrod Fletcher, the judge's alleged hand-picked friend and business partner, headed to the grand jury.
Fletcher wasn't answering questions Friday.
The head of Mingo County's emergency management department allegedly took on a new role in 2009, being tapped by good friend and business partner, Judge Michael Thornsbury, to be the foreperson on the county's grand jury.
Investigators said the move was to rig the grand jury and help the judge enact revenge on his romantic rival, but the plan was thwarted when it became public knowledge that Fletcher and Thornsbury had close ties both personally and financially.
It was not the only case Fletcher heard while heading two terms of the grand jury, one in January and one in April.
Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks said more than 100 cases were presented while Fletcher was in the jury box, most of them drugs.
Now there are questions about the validity of the cases where indictments were returned.
Sparks said they are looking through all of those indictments. There are 15 other grand jurors, so he does not believe Fletcher could have had a significant adverse impact, but his office is going to take a closer look at all indictments with less than 12 votes.
They are also examining the cases prepared by Trooper Brandon Moore , another co-conspirator in the federal case against the judge. If there are issues with any of the indictments, the charges could be dismissed.
“It’s not a bright day for Mingo County,” Sparks said. “It’s regrettable.”
But he said he is optimistic there will be brighter days ahead.
Sparks said during Fletcher's time on the grand jury, several attorneys filed motions to dismiss Fletcher, calling him a quasi-police officer because of his powers as the head of the Homeland Security Department for the county.
But Judge Thornsbury dismissed each of those motions. Sparks also added that Thorsnsbury exercised very tight control over all of the grand juries in Mingo County.
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